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Self-inflicted Illness That Destroys Your Teeth

People who genuinely love themselves, generally take care of their health will avoid destructive behaviour that leave permanent marks. Once the teeth is destroyed, it’s not growing back. A dentist can patch you up or fit you with false teeth, but you’re never getting back what you’ve lost.

bright dental smile

Bulimia Nervosa

Some self-inflicted illnesses are notorious for eroding teeth at lightning speed. Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder that affects 10 million women and 1 million men in the United States. Around 4% of women will experience bulimia in their lifetime. Those who suffer bulimia binge eat and then purge by vomiting, consuming laxatives, stimulants or diuretics, or excessively exercising to lose weight. Does that sound like you? Most people who suffer form bulimia never admit to it, and only 6% will actually seek help.

Bulimia is more common than other eating disorders, like anorexia, and less dangerous. But it is the most damaging to the teeth. Individuals who are bulimic develop the disorder because of a high concern over their weight and the way they look, but they neglect to recognize the effect bulimia has on teeth. Frequent vomiting bathes the teeth in stomach acid, which is very potent. Bulimics also suffer chronic bad breath, dry mouth, and higher incidence of tooth decay and tooth loss.

Smoking

A lot of progress has been made in the last few decades, but nobody has yet figured how to make cigarettes better for teeth. Just like smokers from a past generation, you are three times more likely to experience tooth loss if you smoke. Smoking causes bad breath (obviously), increases incidence of plaque, tooth decay and gum disease. Most scary of all, you can get oral cancer and lung cancer. Chewing tobacco and smokeless cigarettes are just as bad, they still put you at risk of cancer. If you’re not addicted to nicotine yet, don’t start now.

Drug Addiction

Many different kinds of drug addiction causes severe decay of teeth, but none so as dramatic as methamphetamine  or meth abuse. If you’ve ever seen before and after picture of meth users, you know what “meth mouth” means. It is unclear why meth causes such dramatic erosion of the teeth. Dry mouth, teeth grinding, and poor dental hygiene do their part, but it does not explain why some get meth mouth, but other are not as affected. Methamphetamine is illegal but it is estimated that close to 11 million American have tried the drug recreationally, at least once. Most do not instantly get addicted after first use, but those who do are trapped in an addiction similar to cocaine.

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Dr. Josh Chocran

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